No. 23 Mississippi State baseball held its first intrasquad scrimmage of 2015 Saturday at Dudy Noble Field, which ended when redshirt freshman outfielder Joey Swinarski gunned down the tying run at the plate from left field.
Swinarski’s Maroon team defeated Gray by a score of 2-1 in the six-inning exhibition. Senior left-hander Lucas Laster started for the victors, striking out three in two innings of no-run ball. Newcomer Daniel Brown replaced him, tossing 1.2 shutout stanzas. Senior righty Trevor Fitts earned the save with two strikeouts in a scoreless sixth.
“We threw a ton of strikes early and really defended well,” head coach John Cohen said. “All of the things you want to get done early in preseason practice I thought we were able to accomplish.”
Five different members of Maroon recorded hits, including RBI singles from All-SEC sophomore Gavin Collins and senior Cody Walker. For Gray, junior transfer Michael Smith finished a home run short of the cycle (3-for-3), while fellow newcomer Luke Reynolds went 2-for-2 with a double and a walk.
“We have been working very hard and we are just ready for Opening Day,” Smith said. “The coaches have helped us and we’re excited to get started.”
Maroon wasted no time scoring in the bottom of the first when redshirt sophomore Jacob Robson led off with a bunt single. After flying from home to first in 3.65 seconds, the speedster stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Seth Heck. Collins then drove him in to give the home team an early 1-0 advantage.
The eventual victors doubled their lead in the third when Swinarski doubled down the line in right, moved to third on a groundball by junior Matt Spruill and scored on an infield single by Walker.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Gray scored its only run of the day when Smith doubled and then scored on an RBI single by redshirt junior John Holland.
“I think we retained a lot from the fall,” Cohen concluded. “Our older guys are doing a great job coaching the younger guys through certain situations.”
The Diamond Dawgs’ second scrimmage of the spring takes place Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field. Admission is free and open to the public.
(From MSU Media Relations)